Priit Vesilind, 74, was born in Tallinn-Pirita and left Estonia with his parents in the summer of 1944. The family lived in the Geislingen Displaced Persons camp in Germany until 1949, when they emigrated to the United States, to a small town near Pittsburgh. Vesilind graduated with a BA in English at Colgate University in 1964, and added an MA from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communication in 1973. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Communications Officer for four years, reaching the rank of Lieutenant. He worked at the Atlanta Journal as a sports writer, at the Providence Journal as a feature writer, and joined National Geographic Magazine (NGM) in 1973. Vesilind wrote 38 feature stories for NGM, including "Return to Estonia" in 1980, and "The Baltic States" in 1991. He became the magazine's Senior Assistant Editor for Adventure and Expedition stories in 1992. He has written eight books, including "The Singing Revolution" in 2008. In 2001 President Lennart Meri decorated Vesilind with the Third Order of the White Star.
"I am the editor and designer of the book "Estonians in America--1945-1995, Exiles in a Land of Promise," published by the Estonian American National Council (EANC) in 2016. This was the long-awaited documentary about the exile generation of Estonians who arrived in the United States from German DP camps in the late 1940s and early 1950s. My presentation will examine the background of this project, the difficulties of delivering it, and the value it should have for Estonians-Americans, academics, and many others interested in Baltic peoples. Through projecting select pages of the book, I will explain and discuss the organization and breakdown of the project, and show how it reveals the history of the Estonian people in America. Discussion can follow."